If you’re looking to replace missing teeth, there are two main alternatives to traditional dentures: implant-stabilized overdentures (also called “snap-on” or “clip-in” dentures) and All-on-4 dental implants. Both of these approaches involve placing dental implants in your mouth, but that’s where the similarity stops. Here’s what you need to know about each of these approaches to tooth replacement so you can make an informed decision about your own treatment plan.
Overview: Two Types of Tooth Replacement
When it comes to a snap-on overdenture, the principle behind this solution is simple: snap-on dentures fit over your gums (assuming all teeth in that arch are missing) and attach on top of dental implants to keep them in place. Anywhere between 2-4 implants are usually used. The restoration looks like a traditional denture, except there are special “locators” under the base. Each of these locators has a corresponding dental implant inside of your mouth, which it attaches onto whenever you put it into place. And as you might guess, snap-on overdentures are still removable. You won’t sleep in them at night and you need to take them out to clean them properly.
All-on-4 dental implants are permanent. There’s nothing to remove or snap into place. Once they’re there, they’re there for good. The hybrid device is more streamlined in shape, so you get a more discreet and comfortable prosthesis that follows the contour of your jaw. Plus, an All-on-4 is more cost-effective than placing a dental implant in every single location of each missing tooth.
Removable vs. Non-Removable: Which Option is Better for Me?
There are several advantages to a snap-on overdenture, including: reduced irritation to your gum tissues and better stability whenever you’re talking or eating. Most patients also report that their bite feels more secure after getting an overdenture compared to when they wore dentures. But overdentures are meant to remove, so if you have any reason why that might not be right for you, All-on-4 treatments are a better choice.
Removable overdentures are also more affordable to get into than a permanent hybrid treatment. Some of our patients use them as a step-up from conventional dentures even if they plan to get All-on-4 treatment sometime in the future.
When you’re looking for permanent replacement teeth that you never have to take out and probably never have to update, then All-on-4 is by far the best choice. You won’t have to worry about any embarrassing situations where other people see you with your teeth out at night. And they’ll never slip or rub when you’re talking or eating. It’s like restoring your full oral function back to what it was with a full set of healthy teeth. Whereas overdentures have a slightly reduced biting and chewing function when you compare them to All-on-4.
Do I Qualify for All-on-4 Dental Implants?
Dental implants will be an attractive option for you if you’re missing all your teeth or want to replace your conventional dentures. But not everyone qualifies for dental implants due to their health, bone loss, medications, or other factors. In fact, rushing into full-arch implant treatment without the right exam and medical clearance could set your investment up for failure if it’s performed by an inexperienced provider.
At ARCHPOINT, our dental implant team is made up of specialists who are experts in oral rehabilitation and dental implant installation. Even if you’ve been told that dental implants aren’t an option for you in the past, that might not be the case if you’re working with a specialist. For instance, if you require bone grafting or a sinus lift, we can incorporate that into your care plan where a traditional dental office doesn’t have the resources to do so.
All-on-4 implant candidates are typically missing all of their teeth already, currently wear dentures, or need to have their remaining teeth removed for some reason. They also have areas of dense bone, where the dental implants need to be installed. Even with bone loss, Zygomatic dental implants can still make this treatment accessible. Our specialists will also review your medical history and any medications you’re taking, to ensure nothing is going to interfere with the integration of your new implants.
When Overdentures Might Be a Good Idea
Overdentures are a good choice for certain people. Usually, when you understand the difference between dentures, overdentures, and All-on-4, you typically have a good idea of whether or not snap-on dentures are your best choice. An overdenture is more affordable initially than going straight into a permanent hybrid appliance, making it a popular option for people who may not want to invest as much into their smile reconstruction. For others, they’re an interim solution before they’re ready to finally upgrade to something more permanent.
If you struggle with loose or uncomfortable dentures, an overdenture is a practical solution. Especially since as little as two dental implants can be used for support.
Can I Retrofit My Current Denture?
Dentures can sometimes be retrofitted to snap onto dental implants. But not always. Usually retrofitting a denture is only possible if the prosthesis is still fairly new and in good condition. Much of it will depend on the depth of the “plate” and where the implants can be installed in your mouth. You’re essentially wanting to see whether the stars align, so to speak. If you’re considering having your denture adjusted or retrofitted into an overdenture, be sure to bring it with you to your appointment at ARCHPOINT.
Benefits of Overdentures vs. All-on-4
At the end of the day, what matters most is how comfortable you are with your dentures and if you want them to be permanent vs. more affordable. Both overdentures and All-on-4 can provide good results. However, overdentures are more affordable than All-on-4 implant systems, making them easier for some people to get into if they require full-arch reconstruction on a tighter budget. But if you want a permanent solution that feels closer to natural teeth, then All-on-4 implants are probably the best option for you.
Reserve a Consultation Today
Call ARCHPOINT in Dallas or Ft. Worth today to reserve an appointment with our implant specialists.